The commercial product to be developed is an engineering tool for modeling aeroservoelastic dynamics in highly flexible air vehicles. The software will use data generated by high-fidelity aeroelastic CFD models to construct computationally efficient ROMs for all phases of the development process from early concept trade studies to flight testing and aircraft certification. Flexible, lightweight vehicles with high lift-to-drag ratios are an emerging market, promising reduced take-off weight, greater range, and lower fuel costs. However, lightweight, flexible designs present safety challenges (flutter, divergence, control reversal, high gust loading, structural failure, fatigue), requiring innovative flight control systems to effectively manage aeroelastic and aeroservoelastic instabilities. The proposed technology will enable the design and testing of new controllers for highly flexible aircraft through accurate, low-dimensional aeroservoelastic models capable of real-time predictions. The project is directly applicable to NASA's X-56 program and to related, follow-on programs initiated by the agency.
The proposed project will focus on the experimental X-56 program with much broader potential applications relating to flutter prediction and suppression, gust load prediction and alleviation, and active/adaptive aero-structural control. The modeling technology will enable advanced flight control required in highly flexible, lightweight aircraft. These new types of extended-range air vehicles have numerous civilian and military applications including drones for reconnaissance and law enforcement. NASA's Advanced Air Transport Technologies (AATT) Project explores and develops technologies and concepts for improved energy efficiency and environmental compatibility of fixed wing, subsonic transports, applicable to a host of future, commercial aircraft operating in the Next Gen airspace. Using high-fidelity, low-overhead aeroservoelastic models to design flight controllers for the types of aircraft envisioned will enable vehicles that fly farther and cleaner with much lower fuel consumption while maintaining required flight safety margins.